The Doors: Twentieth Century Fox

Well, she's fashionably lean
And she's fashionably late
She'll never rank a scene
She'll never break a date
But she's no drag
Just watch the way she walks

She's a twentieth century fox
She's a twentieth century fox

No tears, no fears
No ruined years,
No clocks
She's a twentieth century fox, oh yeah

She's the queen of cool
And she's the lady who waits
Since her mind left school
It never hesitates
She won't waste time
On elementary talk

'Cause she's a twentieth century fox
She's a twentieth century fox

Got the world locked up
Inside a plastic box
She's a twentieth century fox, oh yeah
Twentieth century fox, oh yeah
Twentieth century fox
She's a twentieth century fox

This snappy, perfectly turned out tune could be construed simply as a pun on the movie studio of the same name, but it also serves as a pointedly humorous jab at the twisted values of LA as the pop culture Mecca - a world in a plastic box that prizes youth and sex appeal over all else.

The song was a favorite of Elektra's Jac Holzman and was going to be the follow-up single to Break On Through, until the demand for Light My Fire made it the obvious choice for a second single.

Beginning with an oddly graceful guitar riff which seems to turn the beat on its head, Twentieth Century Fox sweeps up its listeners in a seductive rush and deposits them right in the middle of the Sunset Strip circa 1967. While most of the songs on the Doors' debut album were built of a timeless imagery, Twentieth Century Fox offered up a neon bathed vision of up-to-the-minute, modern American decadence.

The fearless, tearless, self-conscious mores of 1967's hippest hipsters appear to be fully embodied in the fashionably late she-fox of the title and, as Morrison asks the listener to watch the way she walks, the music seems perfectly designed for such a creature to strut her stuff.

In fact, the compulsive, pop drive of Twentieth Century Fox is partly the result of one of Paul Rothchild's many clever innovations during the making of The Doors. To add power to the rhythm track, he recorded the band members marching on a wooden platform - this is particularly noticeable during the choruses, the guitar solo and on the two big beats between "She's a" - - and "Twentieth century fox." *

The tone of Twentieth Century Fox was somewhat of a departure for Morrison, in that, while the sexual imagery in most of his lyrics has a resonant, deeply psychological quality, the sexually charged lyrics of this song are slyly playful. Ultimately the song was further evidence of Morrison's developing ability to capture the mercurial spirit of his adopted home town in Los Angeles in his songs.

As a man who had described himself in his first Elektra press bio as 'primarily an American, second, a Californian, third, a Los Angeles resident', Morrison had a sharp eye for the foibles and fundamentals of the West Coast and Twentieth Century Foxes were a particularly fanciful part of the landscape.

"Twentieth Century Fox is so perfectly regional," says poet Linda Albertano, who met the Doors when they were shopping their demo around and cheered them on at early Gazzari's gigs. Today, Albertano manages the building in Venice where Jim Morrison lived while he was doing his rooftop writing. The building is now called The Morrison.

"Jim had a magnetic panther-like maleness that was a pleasant jolt to experience, but I think it was his lyrics that people really connected with at the early shows. LA had become a part of his blood and, just like the rest of us, he saw it as a doomed city, but he didn't want to be anywhere else. We knew exactly what he was talking about in Twentieth Century Fox - youth culture and the attraction of LA. It's a process that's still taking place. Young people are drawn to Hollywood, and their excitement in being here in turn, excites the people who are ready to consume them. Twentieth Century Fox is about fresh meat, as it were, about to enter the abattoir with a smile."

*Paul Rothchild describes this recording in his interview with BAM in 1981.

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